An in-house marketing stunt to promote the launch of the latest Streak tablet PC backfired on Dell after two execs were arrested at its corporate HQ for minor offences at the start of this week.
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According to police in Round Rock, Texas, two members of a small sales team had "enacted an in-house product promotion scheme, with little or no notice to co-workers, internal security or Dell executives."
"Essentially, a member of the marketing group who wore dark clothing with a face-hiding, skull-pattern mask held aloft small metallic items as he rushed through densely staffed areas while yelling 'go to the lobby'," said the police.
Unfortunately for Dell's PR men, some of the 400 employees decided to call the police to report sightings of "masked and armed men".
More than two dozen heavily armed officers swooped on the campus to "locate the threats and usher the victims to safety".
The fuzz encountered Dell's business transformation manager Dan Rawson who refused to comply with officers' directions or detail the whereabouts or identity of his accomplices.
The masked marauder, named as Bryan A Chester of Austin, Texas, was "unapologetic and uncooperative" but later explained the stunt.
Police determined the PR job was "simply a poorly timed series of misperceptions and miscommunications compounded by Rawson's unwillingness to cooperate with police and refusal to comply with police instructions".
Rawson was arrested and charged with a class B misdemeanour of Interfering with Public Duties while Chester copped a charge of Deadly Conduct, a class A misdemeanour. Both were shipped off to the county jail.